I’ve been reading so much lately that I have a small backlog of books to tell you about so I am going to break them up into several Mini Thoughts for the next few posts until I am caught up. Here are the first two titles:
Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford – I really enjoyed Ford’s first book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, so this book was a natural choice for me to read. It takes place in 1930’s Seattle and tells the story of William, a little boy in an orphanage, and his discovery that the mother who abandoned him is now a budding movie star, Willow Frost. The majority of the novel takes us back to Willow’s teen years as a singer and abused daughter as we learn why she gave William up to the orphanage. I find Ford to be a compelling writer who tells a very swiftly moving story. This time I was half-way into the novel before I realized that I wasn’t liking it much. The plot was a bit generic and bland – I’m afraid to say almost like a Hallmark channel movie. It contained all the elements of a good historical novel, but it lacked that certain something that would make it memorable.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins – According to Goodreads I started reading The Moonstone on November 12, 2012. I read about half of it right away and then put it aside for some unknown reason. I didn’t pick it back up again until July 2013. Do you ever do this? I can’t believe I didn’t finish it at the time. Anyway, I really liked it and found it to be a fantastic investigation into who swiped the famous moonstone diamond from Rachel Verinder. Collins uses four narrators to uncover the mystery that I wasn’t able to figure out until almost the end. Gabriel Betteridge, the caretaker of Rachel’s family home, is the best narrator by far. He is funny and opinionated and loves Robinson Crusoe. I was sad when his narration ended. I was also sad that we didn’t get more of Sergeant Cuff, the character based on Inspector Whicher, the real life detective who is featured in the book The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. He was very vivid and rational – a nice contrast to the emotional young characters who dominate the novel. If you like sprawling Victorian sensation novels, this one should not be missed.
3 more days until Mary Stewart Reading Week – are you ready?